You have probably never given any thought to the dampness you see in the concrete walls of your house. Maybe you assume that the dampness poses no harm. If so, that is a grave mistake. The wall may dry after some time but the water or moisture may incur a damage that you can not see until it is too late. Presence of moisture in concrete can result in concrete cancer. Concrete cancer occurs when the steel that is reinforced in concrete walls begins to rust. As the steel rusts, it can expand up to 3 times its original size and force the concrete surrounding it to displace. Viewed from outside, the displaced concrete appears flaky in nature. Moisture combines with air and the limestone in concrete to form the rust. So it is important to cut off the supply of moisture.
Possible Sources Of Moisture
There could be a number of moisture sources in your walls. One is poor ventilation in the house. If the air outside the house gets warm and humid, it condenses on basement walls and floors. So if you do not have a proper ventilation system, the condensed air will not dry. Instead, it will collect on your walls.
Another possible source of moisture is leakage in one or several of your plumbing fixtures. To find out if there is a leak, tape a 10" X 10" piece of plastic wrap onto one of your basement walls. Place the plastic wrap on a damp area of the wall and check it after a few days. If you observe moisture on the plastic side that is facing the wall, then the source of moisture or dampness in your wall is probably a leak. If moisture appears on the other side, then it is due to condensation.
How To Cut Off The Moisture Supply
To prevent dampness in your walls, you should first understand the cause of the dampness. If the dampness is caused by poor ventilation, for instance, then improve the flow of air in your house. You can open the windows when it is hot outside, add some vents in your rooms, or invest in air conditioners and ceiling fans. If the moisture is caused by a leakage in your plumbing system, then you need to contact a professional plumber who can fix the problem.
However, stopping moisture from penetrating into your walls does not reverse the damage done. You will need some professional contractors who can further examine your walls and propose a suitable solution. Also note that living under walls that have concrete cancer could be a dangerous thing to do since the walls are weak and can fall apart anytime. So the sooner you act the better.